18-14 Frank Rietz, Charles Radin, Harry L. Swinney, and Matthias Schroeter
Nucleation in Sheared Granular Matter (961K, pdf) Feb 6, 18
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Abstract. We present an experiment on crystallization of packings of macroscopic granular spheres. This system is often considered to be a model for thermally driven atomic or colloidal systems. Cyclically shearing a packing of frictional spheres, we observe a first order phase transition from a disordered to an ordered state. The ordered state consists of crystallites of mixed fcc and hcp symmetry that coexist with the amorphous bulk. The transition, initiated by homogeneous nucleation, overcomes a barrier at 64.5% volume fraction. Nucleation consists predominantly of the dissolving of small nuclei and the growth of nuclei that have reached a critical size of about ten spheres.

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